Respect from your students will not come freely. It is something that must be earned and it isn't always easy. But creating a mutually respectful environment between both students and teacher, provides a nurturing atmosphere in which students will be more willing to put forth their best effort. It also helps maintain the order in your classroom, so that the classroom environment is always conducive to learning. Follow these steps to gain the respect of all of your students, each and every school year.
- Get to know all of your students: You don't have to be their best friend. In fact you are not supposed to be their best friend. But learning about their personal history, culture, family situation, and unique interests will help you relate to your students more easily. Have a quick one-on-one conversation with each student to check in with them each day. Find out how their night went. Ask them how their morning was. It's the little quick, "How is everything going?" that shows a student that you genuinely care.
- Let your students get to know you: Don't air out all of your dirty laundry! But make yourself human! Do you have a dog that is always getting in trouble at home? Tell your students about it! They love to know that their teacher is REAL, and does REAL things. This helps your students relate to you. You especially want to tell stories about the things that you have in common. Students love to know that their teacher is really a lot like them, in many ways!
- Create a STUDENT centered classroom: There are no successful dictatorships! Let your students help govern your classroom. At the beginning of the school year, let your students help write the classroom rules and appropriate consequences. You'll be very surprised by what they come up with. Most of the time, they are more rigid and strict than you ever would have been. Hold daily "Morning Meetings" to discuss the classroom goings-on with your students. This gives your students a voice. And students with a voice feel more powerful, important, and respected.
- Be respectful yourself, and demand respect in your classroom: Lead by example! If you want to be respected, you must first be respectful. Don't yell, scream, or use impolite sarcasm with your students. It makes them feel bad, and quite frankly, makes them not like you. Stay positive! Be polite! Encourage, not discourage! By all means, show your students respect. And do not allow your students to be disrespectful to each other, either. It will only add negativity to your classroom.
- Make learning fun: It is much easier to respect a teacher that makes learning fun. Reduce your paper and pencil tasks. Do more projects. Give students some freedom in their learning and let them incorporate their creativity. Integrate technology into your lessons. Students are always more tuned-in when they are motivated and excited by what they are doing.
Respect from your students will not always be automatic; respect is something that must be earned. However, once you earn respect from your students, you will be able to maintain order in your classroom and create an enriching environment in which students are motivated to learn.